The benefits of Jaggery are many. This is most likely why, in comparison to white refined sugar, jaggery is gaining popularity as a natural sweetener. Consumed instead of table sugar for its sweetening properties, its consumption also relies on energy release, that our bodies require.
It comes in the form of a block, liquid, or granule. The lavishness of its looks is thanks to its generous brown or golden color. Its taste is somewhere in the middle of rich molasses and caramel toffee. Jaggery and Dates are two natural sweeteners that have replaced refined sugar.
Health Benefits of Jaggery
There are varied reasons why people prefer jaggery over refined sugar. Jaggery is recognized as a superfood that is rich in minerals and other nutrients. The nutrient content of jaggery is molasses, a healthy by-product of the sugar-making process.
The process of making white sugar removes the molasses. Due to this white refined sugar loses its nutritious value and is left with empty calories. Being rich in iron content, jaggery aids in the purification of the blood.
Plus, the process of preparing Jaggery does not include any chemicals, whereas the process of making refined sugar does include chemicals.
You can eat Jaggery in moderation in a variety of ways. Let's try to see what benefits we get by consuming Jaggery in various forms.
Benefits of Consuming Jaggery Water
Jaggery being rich in antioxidants detoxifies and purifies the blood. Consumption of jaggery with warm water in small amounts makes your skin glow as it flushes out toxins from the body.
If you intake nutrient-rich Jaggery with warm water regularly, it increases your metabolic rate, and also Jaggery in warm water also helps to normalize blood pressure in the body due to its high potassium and sodium levels.
Having Jaggery in warm water raises the hemoglobin level in the body. This way jaggery can benefit anemic people and pregnant ladies. It also improves digestion by stimulating natural digestive enzymes.
Benefits of Jaggery In Weight Loss
One of the benefits of jaggery consumption after meals is that it aids digestion by activating digestive enzymes. Jaggery also eliminates toxic toxins from the body, speeding up the weight reduction process.
It not only helps to maintain the body's electrolyte balance but also aids in the removal of water retention. All these factors help in your weight loss journey.
Process of making jaggery
The process involved in the making of Jaggery from any obtainable sucrose sap remains pretty much the same. It employs – the boiling of sap to its concentrated form where the so-called baby state of jaggery- dough like- attains a structureless, vague solid form – called Amorphous.
The extent of boiling along with the sugar content of the sap determines the color of jaggery ranging from golden yellow to golden brown to brownish.
Other names- Called Guda in Sanskrit. Also known as Gur, Gul, Guide, Mitha, Mithoi, Bella, Bellam. ‘Vellam’ in Tamil Nadu has other names too- Karupatti, Panai Vellam, Panam Kalkandu.
Types of Jaggery
For a long time, the term jaggery refers to the molasses obtained from sugarcane juice. Today, it's also the name given to the sap extracted from palm trees.
1) Sugarcane Jaggery
Very sweet, vaguely structureless, golden to dark brown in color.
It is prepared by boiling the sugarcane juice.
2) Date Palm Jaggery
Very sweet, amorphous, with the distinguishing aroma of the Date Palm somewhat like the Dark Chocolate. This is golden brown to dark brown in color.
Boiling the sap of the Date Palm produces Date palm Jaggery.
Very soft and melts even at room temperature.
3) Palmyra Jaggery
Very sweet, unstructured, off-white to pale yellowish-white.
Prepared by boiling sap of Palmyra palm.
Hence the typical aroma of the Palmyra palm is somewhat like white chocolate.
Soft and typically more expensive than the above two varieties of jaggery.
4) Toddy Palm Jaggery
Immensely sweet, golden brown with the typical aroma of its source- Toddy Palm.
Boiling the sap of Toddy Palm yields jaggery
Other Palm Jaggery include the now in trend sap from the Sago Palm and Coconut Palm.
How is Jaggery Sourced
We get Jaggery from the sap (juicy fluid insides) of sugar cane, date palm, Palmyra, and toddy palm.
Jaggery is a staple of the South Asian pantry and finds its use in festive preparations in India.
Why should one use Jaggery?
Coz it is proving to be a healthier alternative. Traditionally jaggery preparation does not involve any refinement or distilling. This means there are no additives and chemicals added that rid this golden brown ‘Amrit’ of its goodness.
As a result, it includes traces of fiber and minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. The darker the color, the richer it is in mineral content -particularly iron- the better for your health. It also has an earthy sweetness and flavor.
Because of the origin of its production, jaggery contains a major amount of sucrose. But, it releases energy slowly over a long period of time, not at once spiking insulin levels. This is Jaggery's advantage.
Uses of Jaggery
Jaggery is in great demand of late, because of the many benefits of jaggery on human health as compared to sugar.
Jaggery is extremely rich in various minerals like phosphorus calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium and is also rich in vitamin B. Ayurveda also makes use of Jaggery for its medicinal use.
A few other uses of Jaggery are as stated below. We may use it to sweeten tea and coffee and can also use it as a brown sugar alternative. Also to baking and cooking, jaggery has a lot of other uses.
- Sweetener and flavoring agent in households.
- Food and beverage industry.
- In chocolates, candies, sorbets, traditional health Tonics, syrups.
- Viable as a sugar substitute though doctors advise diabetics to avoid jaggery, yet it is definitely superior to white sugar.
- In rural Maharashtra, Karnataka, etc, water and a piece of jaggery are given to a person arriving home from work under the sun.
- It’s in Western countries that jaggery finds its use as a sugar substitute in a huge way.
- In many a home remedy, for local use, sugarcane jaggery finds a superior place in concoctions that keep seasonal cough and cold at bay.
- Palmyra jaggery, made as a drink by dissolving in water, makes for a cooling refresher on our body during hot summers.
- Date Palm Jaggery has a warming effect on the body during cold winters and is pretty nutritious.
Jaggery is an integral part of our lives because of its wider cultural significance in many Indian households. It also has a spiritual connection in many ceremonies and customs. Because of the many benefits of Jaggery, Jaggery has also found its use in ayurvedic medicines.
Parts that make up
1. Rice cooked with sugarcane jaggery and a dash of cardamom in a sweet dish is a traditional harvest festival offering to the Gods in Southern India. Sakara Pongal, Milk Pongal, Payasam, Obbattu/ Holige, Mango Rasayana, Panakkam (a combination of water, jaggery, and peppercorns offered during Rama Navami), Sambhars, Halwa
2. Flavorful foods like Puran Poli are cooked with sugarcane jaggery and freshly harvested sesame, groundnuts, rice, and wheat flour to honor the harvest.
3. Rice cakes, rice puddings, porridge, milk, and coconut sweets made with rice flour, milk, coconut shreds, and date palm jaggery, Sweet dishes like Pithas and tea, are examples of sweet dishes from Eastern India which make use of Jaggery.
Nutritional Benefits Jaggery
If you despise the use of artificial colors in everything else, we propose buying unadulterated types of Jaggery and enjoying nature's gift at its finest.
Jaggery (organic). Jaggery, like the majority of other pantry items, is now made organically. Expert people prepare this with the most dexterity.
Information on nutrition (credit to Healthline)
per 100gms (1cup) of Jaggery goes so:
Consumption of a tablespoon (20gms) or teaspoon (7gms)
You will have to eat a lot of jaggery for the above-mentioned nutrients, hence we recommend it’s best to resort to other food sources for the same.
Credits to - Meenakshi Nagdeve of , Wikipedia, Healthline, Quora journals